We have had some interesting people come and go, but all have been really nice and I am sure there are a few we will stay in touch with and see again. It can be a little up-setting to your normal daily routine to accommodate up to four guests and sometimes their pets, but it has been a great way to meet new people. I recommend it as an experience and a fun way to make a little extra money. If you have a space you are interested in advertising on Airbnb sign up as a host using this link. Once you receive your first booking, Airbnb will reward us for recommending you as a host -it will cost you nothing!
In preparation for this trip we have needed to save money and make extra money where we could. Because Iain works for himself there are things he can do at work to ensure the business stays profitable and keeps on top of out goings. For me it’s different, I work part time and receive a set salary, my wages don’t increase if I decide to work more, so I need to be more creative about making extra money.
I started selling things we no longer needed; children’s clothes they had out grown, baby items, old toys etc. It was hard. I liked having a clean out, but there were somethings I felt sad about giving up, the moses basket for example which our three girls all slept in as babies. I had imagined handing it down for our Grandchildren one day, yet now I am selling it off, only hoping it will be as loved by another family.
Selling our things required a lot of admin and running around. Buyers often wanted a bargain deal and they expected me to drive for miles to deliver their purchase, in the end I wasn’t really making much money.
I needed a way to make money without investing too much of my precious time. I listed a room in our home on Airbnb. The room is on the top floor of our house, it’s the master bedroom but while our children are young we chose to sleep in a room next to theirs and keep the up stairs as a spare room. We had au pairs come and go since 2014. The room was an ideal space for an au pair, it’s a big room, with a large bed, own bathroom, TV & DVD, work desk, fold out sofa and it’s private. While saving for this trip we haven’t had an au pair and needing to make some extra money it seemed logical to rent out the room on Airbnb.
Initially I took some photos of the room using my iPhone. I wrote a brief profile about us, the room we were offering and the shared living space. I wasn’t sure what would come of it and I didn’t know if there would be anyone interested in staying in our little village, but I thought I’d give it a go. The sign up process was straight forward and easy to understand. Airbnb give you a suggested price for the space you are advertising, I think when I first put the room on line the suggested price was 30chf per night, for me that didn’t seem enough. I had a quick look at what else was on offer in our area. Mostly people were charging around 70chf per night for a similar space. I decided I would put ours on for a little less until we got a few reviews and a better understanding of what we were doing.
As the room had been used in the past there wasn’t anything extra I needed to buy for the space. I gave it a good clean and made up the bed with clean, freshly ironed linen -we were ready to go. I had my first booking the following week. A couple were coming for one night, Sunday to Monday. It was a strange feeling opening our family home up to strangers and I was a little nervous about it.
Our first guests arrived in the evening of Sunday the 4th or December, Iain’s 40th birthday. We had put the children to bed and were just about to sit down to our dinner for two when they arrived. We put dinner on hold and shared a couple of drinks with our guests. They were lovely, friendly people. The children heard the new voices downstairs and wanted to introduce themselves, to our guests delight, phew! After the children went back to bed, our guests went up to their room for an early night leaving us to our meal. We genuinely enjoyed their company and were so stoked to receive some positive feedback and a great review the following day.
Airbnb offer the option of a photographer to come through and take professional photos of the advertised space, paid for by Airbnb, it seemed a no brainer. The photographer came through the following week. The photo session took no more than 30mins, within about 5 days our photos were up loaded to our profile. It wasn’t long before we got the next booking and it has been a steady stream of guests since.
Having professional photos is a real boost to our profile, but I think the best thing to ensure new bookings is to have good reviews. I aim for a 5 star review, to achieve this I am quick to reply to guests messages and booking requests. I keep the room really clean and tidy. I make sure I am home to welcome the guests when they arrive. I show our guests around the house and help them with any local info. Recently I have written to our guests after they have checked out to thank them for their visit and ask if they have any suggestions for us. I also explain how important a positive review is for our business and ask if they would write one for us.
I have really enjoyed the experience and seeing the income is a buzz. I changed the settings on our profile giving me about 3 hours turnaround between guests, it is by default 24hours usually, because of this I brought some extra linen to make sure I could have the room ready quickly. Other than that I haven’t had to spend any money. Sometimes time can be a factor, but as we have guests frequently now I have managed to stream line the cleaning and seem to be getting faster with making up the room.
If you are a traveler and have not yet signed up to Airbnb you can receive 40 CHF free credit after your first booking if you sign up using this link, in turn that will earn us 20 CHF travel credit = win/win!
As I said, it’s been a fantastic experience and so rewarding. I look forward to using Airbnb as a guest when we set off on our adventure.